The use of marital assets by a doctor to retire student loan debt incurred before the marriage was wasteful dissipation of the marital estate that must be repaid, New York’s Dutchess County Supreme Court justice ruled in a case of first impression.

Acting Justice James V. Brands said that the ex-husband, a surgeon at Alice Hyde Hospital in Malone, N.Y., could have used his own separate property to pay those loans, but chose to use joint assets belonging to the couple.

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